Ayotte Condemns Trump's Comments on Federal Judge, Calls for Retraction

Jun 6, 2016

Kelly Ayotte
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is criticizing comments made by Donald Trump suggesting the federal judge presiding over the Trump University fraud case is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

"His comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them," Ayotte said in a statement provided to several news outlets Sunday.

Still, Ayotte's office tells WMUR that she still intends to vote for Trump, though continues to make the distinction that she won't endorse him.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been publicly attacking judge Gonzalo Curiel for what he describes as unfair rulings in the case against the now-defunct Trump University. A lawsuit brought by former students accuses the program of being a fraudulent scheme.

Trump says Curiel should recuse himself from the case, repeatedly calling the judge "Mexican," even though he was born in Indiana and is an American citizen.

"I'm building a wall. I'm trying to keep business out of Mexico. He's of Mexican heritage and he's very proud of it," Trump told CNN on Sunday.

Trump will return to New Hampshire on June 13, according to WMUR.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is challenging Ayotte's re-election bid this November, was critical of Ayotte's response.

"Don't be fooled: if Kelly Ayotte really believed that Donald Trump's latest offensive comments were wrong, she would drop her support of Trump for President," Hassan's campaign said in a statement. "Instead, Ayotte has made clear that she continues to support Trump -- trusting him to appoint federal judges, including to the Supreme Court."

This isn't the first time Ayotte has pushed back on comments made by Trump.

In December, Ayotte said she disagreed with Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, calling it "inconsistent with the First Amendment."